Excel Guides

Wildcards in Replace With Text in Excel

When you use the Replace command in Excel, you can include wildcards in your search criteria. Wildcards are special characters that can stand for other characters. For example, the asterisk (*) wildcard can stand for any number of characters, and the question mark (?) wildcard can stand for any single character.

You can use wildcards to find cells that contain data that match a pattern, and then replace that data with different text. For example, suppose you have a worksheet that contains a column of first names. Some of the names are spelled correctly and some are not. You can use the asterisk wildcard to find all the names that end with the letters "ie" and then replace them with the correct spelling, "y".

To use wildcards in your search criteria, you must enter the criteria enclosed in double quotation marks ("). For example, if you want to find all cells that contain the text "red", you would enter "red" in the Find What box. If you want to find all cells that contain text that starts with "red", you would enter "red*" in the Find What box.

The following table shows some common wildcards and what they stand for:

WildcardStand for
* (asterisk)Any number of characters
? (question mark)Any single character
[charlist]Any single character within charlist
[!charlist] or [^charlist]Any single character not within charlist
[first-last]Any single character between first and last in charlist or ASCII value range; for example, [A-Z] or [0-9]

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